As January winds to a close, so do several annual traditions, including MLK celebrations, the National Western Stock Show (or what passed for it this year), and light displays around Denver. Carne y Arena will also wrap up its immersive activities with a final discussion of art and immigration.
Have free time this week? Here are a dozen things to do for free:
State of the State
Through Wednesday, January 27, 10 a.m. to noon
During this virtual experience hosted by Route Fifty, elected politicians and other civic leaders from around the country will explore the biggest trends and challenges in state government while diving deep into verticals like technology, finance and the economy, and public safety. Governor Jared Polis joins the lineup on January 27; see the full agenda and register here.
Coors Western Art Exhibit: Inside the Artist's Studio Talks
Weekdays through Friday, January 29, noon to 1 p.m.; final event January 30, 4 p.m.
Celebrating the Legacy, the virtual homage to the National Western Stock Show, has ended, but online conversations hosted by Coors Art Curator Rose Fredrick with some of the artists featured in the annual art show. On January 27, Fredrick and Seth Hopkins will discuss "What We Collect" (register here); on January 28, Fredrick will talk with Sophy Brown and Ron Hicks on “Intention, Content, and Interpretation” (register here); and on January 29, she'll speak with Lisa Gordon and Evelyn Gottschall Baker on "Translating the World into Three Dimensions" (register here). The series concludes at 4 p.m. Saturday, January 30, with "In the Yards," a film screening and artist talk with 2019 Stock Show resident artist Eileen Roscina Richardson and Coors Art Coordinator Krista Hanley; watch it here.
Response(Art)ability and Leadership in Continued Times of Injustice
Wednesday, January 27, 1 to 3 p.m.
As the immersive experience Carne y Arena winds up a run interrupted by changing pandemic safety rules, this online conversation about art and immigration will explore the collective responsibility of cultural institutions during times of continued injustice. Artist and master of ceremonies Molina Speaks will bookend the discussion with poems using his “live-scribe” technique integrating artistic perspective and audience voice. The program is hosted by the Latino Cultural Arts Center along with the Biennial of the Americas, the Denver Art Museum, Emerson Collective, History Colorado Center and the Village Exchange Center. Sign up here for the free talk; if you'd like to catch Carne y Arena before it closes January 30, buy tickets ($45-$55) here.
Colfax MLK Tribute: A Rhythmic Journey
Wednesday, January 27, 1 to 1:45 p.m.
The Colorado Folk Arts Council, in conjunction with the Aurora Fox Theater, Chicano Humanities and Arts Council and Metropolitan State University of Denver Journey Through Our Heritage, are presenting this mini tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as part of their Cultural Concerts on Colfax series. Grammy Award nominee Shane "SF1" Franklin will present an ensemble of talented musicians from the “The Crew,” who will accompany him on the stage of the Aurora Fox; find out more here.
X Games Aspen 2021
Wednesday, January 27, through Sunday, January 31
The X Games are returning to Buttermilk this week — and while the mountain won't be hosting spectators, this year's X Fest experience will be available to fans around the globe, with live telecasts and the virtual X Fest, which opens January 27 at XGames.com/xfest. ESPN, ABC and ESPN2 will televise a combined 13.5 hours of live X Games Aspen competition, and more will be available on other outlets. Find out more on XGames.com.
Agents and ’artners Peter Miles Bergman and Heather Link-Bergman
Wednesday, January 27, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Denver artist couple Peter Miles Bergman and Heather Link-Bergman — who together run is Press, an underground concern that publishes art books and zines — spun a local thread into MCA’s Citizenship: A Practice of Society with their project Leftist Leaflets in Little Libraries (LLiLL), a politicized reimagining of take-one-leave one neighborhood lawn libraries. The two will talk online about the project, what they do together and apart, and how they manage their intertwined careers as a creative couple. Learn more and RSVP online for streaming link in advance at Eventbrite.
RECIPE for Community: Stories From Denver's Past
Wednesday, January 27, 8 to 9:30 p.m.
Personal storytelling platform Soul Stories teams up with Theatre Artibus to present a live series delving into different aspects of Denver’s history and how they've changed the course of life here over the years. On January 27, author and middle school science teacher Jim Cronin and his son will recount the effects of two decades of busing on Denver public schools, while comparing their personal experiences with other changes in the city at large from trans-generational points of view. The free program will stream here on Facebook Live.
Jeanette Trujillo Ballet Folklorico, A Colorado Experience
Saturday, January 30, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Feed your dance fever during this free, interactive Ballet Folklorico morning with Jeanette Trujillo, founder and director of the Fiesta Colorado Dance Company, as well as a Colorado icon for the past forty years. Along with seeing a dance demonstration, you'll learn the origins of ballet folklórico and other types of dances. Find out more here.
This week is your last chance to catch these two light shows:
Lumonics Mind Spa: Light Intersection
Through January 30
UnderStudy, 700 14th Street
One of the big losses of 2020 was artist Dorothy Tanner who, along with her late husband, Mel Tanner, made light sculptures designed to create a state of comfort, relaxation and creativity. Many of them are currently presented in a “fishbowl”-style installation at UnderStudy, located at the Colorado Convention Center — which is closed, but you can see the Lumonics exhibit through the window. Find out more here.
Night Lights Denver
Tuesday, January 26, through January 31, 5:30 to 10 p.m.
16th and Arapahoe streets
The January lineup for Night Lights Denver includes illuminating works by artists/creatives Andi Todaro, Eliza Struthers-Jobin, the Denver Collage Club (with pieces by dozens of artists) and the Royal Essence Elite Dance Academy. Catch the show before February's roster lights up; find out more here.
And two anytime bonuses:
Dr. Justina Ford's 150th Birthday
The Black American West Museum celebrated Dr. Justina Ford's contribution to the state with a two-hour livestreamed tribute on January 22, officially Dr. Justina Ford Day in Colorado, complete with interviews of some of her remaining patients, as well as a re-enactment of Ford's only known interview and the first public display of her handwritten letter to the Colorado Medical Society that documents her delivery of 7,000 babies in her fifty-year career. If you missed it, you can watch it here through 9 a.m. Friday, January 29.
In Defense of Justice in Denver
This documentary on the protest leaders charged after they demanded justice for Ellijah McClain premiered last weekend. You can now see it here, along with a post-premiere Q&A panel with the filmmakers and protest leaders.
Know of any great free events around town? We'll be updating this list through the week; send information to email@example.com.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.